cosmic cars

words: mike rubin

photography: mike rubin, doug coombe


On a Saturday evening late last September, several thousand people gathered along the airfield at Detroit City Airport for the inaugural edition of the Motor City Showdown, the first legal drag race in the Detroit area in 20 years and perhaps the first-ever legal race within official city limits. On one of the airport’s runways, two cars engaged in pre-race “burnouts”—spinning the wheels while stationary by hitting the gas and brake pedals simultaneously—which ensured drivers were on the cleanest patch of tire rubber possible, as well as laying down a nice, hot, sticky lane of rubber for cars to launch into. After the burnouts, the drivers were coaxed back behind the starting line, where they waited impatiently for the race’s official starter to step between them. As he finally waved the starting flag, the cars roared suddenly to life, clouds of smoke issuing from their spinning tires that obscured the hot rods from view before they reemerged from the haze as blurry streaks of color blazing down the tarmac into the sunset.



In a booth overlooking the racers set up on top of a semitrailer, legendary local electronic music DJs surveyed the scene and supplied a steady musical backdrop. Earlier in the day, members of the Underground Resistance collective had manned the wheels of steel, accompanying the squeals of screeching tires with the high-octane sounds of Detroit techno. After dark, the music was provided by David Humphries, better known as Hump the Grinder, founder of Hair Wars, Detroit’s renowned annual African-American hair stylist competition. Hump spun old-school jams: Whodini’s 1984 “Freaks Come Out at Night,” Inner City’s 1988 early Detroit techno anthem “Good Life,” and one of the ur-tracks of Motor City electrofunk, Cybotron’s 1982 classic “Cosmic Cars.”



Media and movies traditionally portray drag racing culture as the sole domain of white guys, often with slicked-back pompadours and sideburns; think Rebel Without a Cause, Grease, and American Graffiti. In Detroit, the largest US city with a majority African-American population, the sport’s popularity reflects local demographics. Many of Detroit’s residents are, after all, descendants of the Great Migration generation who first ventured north to take up Henry Ford’s offer of $5 a day on the assembly lines. “We built the cars,” says Mike Banks of Underground Resistance. “Why wouldn't we race them?”


Currently, however, the Motor City has no legal place to race the vehicles that made it famous. While the scene once supported two relatively nearby racetracks, both closed decades ago, and the nearest operating track, Milan Dragway, is about 50 miles outside of the metro area, closer to the Ohio border than it is to Detroit. Without a sanctioned outlet, Detroit’s need for speed has instead long expressed itself via street racing, drag racing’s lawless bad-seed stepbrother. Just beyond the airport’s fence, in fact, running along the runway’s western boundary, stretches French Road, a notorious late-night location of illegal street racing for several decades. Every weekend from spring through fall, Detroit police organize a special task force of up to 22 officers to combat street racing at places like French Road. On a given weekend, street racing may take place at as many as 10 different locations, sometimes with over 500 cars and 1,000 people involved. “It’s not just a handful of folks hanging out,” says Detroit Police Chief James Craig. “These are planned events under the radar.”


Despite its illicit nature—or perhaps because of it—street racing has soared in popularity over the last two decades. It’s been given a green light by Hollywood, where The Fast and the Furious has spawned seven sequels thus far, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Reality shows like Speed Channel’s Pinks and Discovery Channel’s current Street Outlaws series have also stoked the appetite for vicarious velocity. The Big Three have further accelerated the appeal, rolling out higher horsepower (700+) vehicles like Dodge’s Hellcat and Demon in recent years; what was considered a full-on race car 20 years ago is now essentially a street car that you can buy off the assembly line. 


The Motor City Showdown was the culmination of two decades of racers’ dreaming and planning after the area’s two dragstrips were shuttered. Motor City Dragway, which was actually northeast of Detroit in New Baltimore, opened in 1957 and closed in 1978; its decaying remains off Marine City Highway have become a popular destination for “urban exploration” ruin hunters. Detroit Dragway, located southwest of Detroit in Brownstown Township, opened in 1959. After hosting the National Hot Rod Association’s premier event, the US Nationals, for its first two years, in 1961 the Nationals relocated to Indianapolis, where they’ve remained ever since. Detroit Dragway’s attendance and facilities began to decline in the 1980s, and the track closed in 1997. It was later demolished to make way for a Sam’s Club distribution center.


Even without an official venue to gather at, Detroit’s racing culture has continued to thrive, as evidenced by the Showdown’s turnout. The airport hadn’t seen a crowd this large in ages: commercial passenger service ceased here in 2000, and the airport’s two runways now serve only a handful of personal and corporate planes. The river of Showdown-bound cars clogging traffic around the airport proved overwhelming, and police decided to cut off any further entries by late afternoon. Despite the snafu, 7,600 attendees came through the gates over the course of the day, a result that Chief Craig, who served as grand marshall of the event, declared “phenomenal.” But the Showdown didn’t just put on display the city’s fervent desire for legal racing opportunities. This remarkable collaboration between the drag racing community, one of the world’s most respected techno labels, and the police department had a larger goal in mind: It demonstrated the relatively low-cost economic boost a permanent track in the City Airport area could provide to Detroit’s beleaguered east side and the city as a whole. “Where else in the country,” says Banks, “would a drag strip make more sense than Detroit?”



The driving force behind the Showdown was Brian Olatunji, a professional drag racer who attended middle school just a few blocks from City Airport and French Road. Olatunji grew up in a drag racing family. His grandfather John Broaden was the first African-American venue manager in drag racing, overseeing the Motor City Dragway beginning in 1971. Broaden later managed Detroit Dragway with his wife, Marguerite, until the late 1980s, and young Olatunji spent every Saturday night in spring, summer, and fall at the dragway known popularly as “the Dirty D,” which drew crowds of 3,000 to 5,000 each weekend. Family photo albums are crammed with pictures of drag racing luminaries like Connie Kalitta, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney, and Roger Lindamood, while young Olatunji read and collected magazines like Super Stock & Drag Illustrated, Car Craft, NHRA National Dragster, and Drag Review. “Those were essentially my Bible,” says Olatunji. “You rushed to those magazines to find out what the new cars looked like when the season began, and who was dominating on both sides of the country.”


Olatunji decided early on that he was going to be a drag racer. “I had a little plastic helmet when I was five years old,” says Olatunji, “and I’d get the tub to 100 degrees so it would have a bunch of smoke billowing off it so it looked like I was doing a burnout.” He began racing at 15, before he actually had a license. “Even before I had a permit I was driving around,” says Olatunji, “because back in the day at Detroit Dragway, we had an old tractor and a ’72 Ford pickup, and we could drive that thing around the racetrack before the spectators and the racers arrived.”


The first car Olatunji raced was an ’89 Chevy Beretta. “I poured every nickel I had and every nickel I didn’t into that thing,” says Olatunji. “I believe the first time I went down to the racetrack, I went 18.43 seconds. It was like molasses in February, but I felt like I was flying. No sooner than I got down to the end, I was figuring out, ‘What do I have to do to make this thing go faster?’ I think when I got done with it, I had it going around 16.20.”


Olatunji earned a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University across the state in Flint, and worked in auto industry designing jobs before finding sponsorship from Pepsi and the US Army to kickstart his racing career. “Education is a cornerstone of my life, and it helped me get from the hood of Detroit to being able to live my dream,” says Olatunji. “I’m a drag racer. I go fast in a straight line and hope it stops. They get going, baby, but I don’t know if they’re gonna stop all the time, so when they slow down, that’s always a good day. That’s what I do. I’m not one to go in circles for three or four hours. I make that thing fly and I let it tap dance as quick as I can.”


Olatunji launched his own charity, the Leadfoot Foundation, which focuses on empowering underprivileged Detroit youth by annually giving away backpacks filled with school supplies, and in 2013 he became one of the stars of the Speed Channel reality show Dreams to Champions. But the lack of a local place to race gnawed at him. “I’ve had an opportunity to race at venues all across the country,” says Olatunji, “and being a native Detroiter, I looked in my backyard and I saw that we didn’t have any legitimate venues for folks to be able to experience the passion and excitement that I’ve been able to experience throughout my career. Being that I’m from the Motor City, and Detroit is the mecca for drag racing given that we put the world on wheels, we looked at it and said this will be a prime opportunity for us to bring an event here so that the people of Detroit can actually experience this in a legal fashion.”


It took almost two years to complete what Olatunji described as the “exhaustive” permitting process for the Showdown (including approvals from the city, airport, and FAA). At a meeting with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan held at Underground Resistance’s headquarters, Olatunji met Banks—aka “Mad Mike,” the former Parliament-Funkadelic session musician who founded Underground Resistance with DJ Jeff Mills in 1990 under the motto “Hard Music From A Hard City,” and whose UR record label has been the conscience and consciousness-raiser of Detroit’s internationally esteemed techno community ever since. Olatunji and Banks bonded immediately, and their alliance led to UR curating the music and providing the DJs for the Showdown. “Motown isn’t just the cars, it’s the cars and the music,” says Olatunji. “That’s what put us on the map and made us unique, so when folks left the Motor City Showdown, we wanted them to say, ‘We don’t know if we came to a race and a party broke out, or we came to a party and a race broke out.’”


Banks was elated at being asked to participate in the Showdown. “To be able to use the UR stuff when the guys were doing the burnouts was the highest honor,” says Banks, “and I think the ultimate music/car connection. Even more so than Motown because Motown is affiliated with cruising; UR is associated with horsepower.”


Olatunji wanted the Showdown to feel like an authentic Detroit experience and look like what a spectator might encounter at a street race. Toward that end, he decided against bracket racing, which pits two dissimilar cars against each other, in favor of grudge racing, where two cars begin at the same starting line and a person waves a flag to commence racing. Rather than 10,000 horsepower “funny cars” (where the car body flips up and the driver sits in the middle) or top-fuel dragsters (which feature big tires in the back, little skinny ones in front, and look sort of like a crane on its side), the Showdown featured door slammers, so-called because, unlike funny cars, they have operable doors. These most closely resemble the production vehicles people drive on the street. “Although funny cars and dragsters are very cool,” says Olatunji, “people can relate to a car that they can see on the road: ‘Oh, that’s a Camaro,’ ‘that’s a Firebird,’ ‘that’s a Mustang,’ ‘that’s a Charger,’ or whatever it might be.”


The Showdown also featured an auto show, called a “show and shine,” to showcase the DIY-decorated cars that Olatunji calls “dynamic art, Detroit’s Picasso.” For the final touch, Olatunji closed down French Road for the day. “That was symbolic for us,” says Olatunji. “I thought it’d be very cool that the primary parking lot that people used and walked to enter the main spectator gate was down French Road. You can still see the burned rubber tire marks there, and if you just looked down when you’re walking, you’d see that folks were getting down recently. As folks walked up they’d get that nostalgic feel that, man, a lot of folks have seen and heard about races here: You’re on hallowed ground. But as opposed to us doing it on French Road, we’re going legal, we’re going on the other side of the fence. It’s going to be something that we hope folks will talk about, kind of like the first hip-hop concert in Harlem 40 years ago.”


The Showdown crowd was remarkably heterogeneous: black, white, families with kids, old folks in “Detroit ¼ Mile Racing Association” gear, and young men in T-shirts bearing messages like “Drag Racing Is Like Sex: When It’s Good It’s Great, When It’s Bad It’s Still Pretty Good.” Olatunji considers the diversity of the crowd at the Showdown to be an “overwhelming success,” and atypical of a traditional drag race. “I believe we exposed legal drag racing to a large contingent of folks,” says Olatunji, “and they got to see that this wasn’t just a white-male-dominated deal that no one else can come in, engage, and enjoy themselves with. The community came out to show that there’s an appetite for this and that it’s something they want.”


As much as Olatunji hoped to invoke the street racing milieu, he also wanted to point out the stark contrast between the two forms of racing. “Drag racing gets a bad rap because illegal street racing is dubbed ‘drag racing’ in the media,” says Olatunji. “Folks say, ‘At a drag race last night on so on and so forth, two people were killed.’ No, that’s actually street racing. Drag racing is something else. Drag racing is in a controlled environment where when you get into a wreck, everyone runs to you. There’s EMS and safety personnel on site. In an illegal street race, there’s none of that. Folks tend to run away from you when you get into a wreck for the most part because they’re afraid they’re gonna get in trouble.”

Another huge difference between street and drag racing was that Chief Craig and the police department fully endorsed the Showdown. Craig ceremonially started the first race, and there was even a department recruiting table at the event, complete with a DPD-branded muscle car. Craig says that the mayor supports the idea for a permanent track, and that they’ve been having regular meetings on the issue, focusing on the airport or its adjacent area as the most natural location. “We think it’s going to create significant public safety and another way to introduce young people from our community to another sport, like the way I was introduced to it many years ago.”


Indeed, Craig has held a lifelong passion for drag racing. A native Detroiter, he built a muscle car in his parents’ backyard when he was 17—a 1970 Chevrolet Camaro, with a 350-cubic-inch small-block engine and 202 heads—with the sole purpose of wanting to go racing. Craig’s uncle used to bracket race at Detroit Dragway, and when he was 18 he gave the quarter-mile there a shot himself. “My first pass, I didn’t do very well, but it was exciting,” says Craig. “I also had a Plymouth Fury 318 two-barrel, not at all a race car, but I took it to the track just to get the experience of lining up at the line and activating the tree”—a reference to the “Christmas tree” column of colored lights that electronically starts most official NHRA drag races.


Craig planned to become an automotive engineer and design race cars, but left school to join the Detroit police force, later moving to Los Angeles. He served 28 years in the LAPD, and was chief of police in both Portland, Maine, and Cincinnati before returning to Detroit as chief in 2013. His time in law enforcement hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for muscle cars; he currently owns a Z06 Corvette and a 1970 Pontiac GTO. “I have a 650-horsepower car, but I don’t race it on the streets,” says Craig. “I’m more of a spectator now. I might have the cars that could do that, but I err on the side of safety.”


The quest to tame Detroit’s street racers has been a persistent issue ever since Craig’s youth, and writing tickets and impounding vehicles has barely dented the problem. “Even all the years I was in the Los Angeles Police Department, we didn’t have a challenge like this,” says Chief Craig. “It’s not that they don’t street race there, but it’s not organized to the degree it is here. But again, we are the Motor City, and this has been a historic activity for years, going back to the late sixties, or even before then.”



Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Detroit street racing’s Valhalla could be found in the parking lot of a White Castle restaurant on Livernois and Warren, where drivers would meet up, plot locations for grudge matches, and hang out after the races were over. In the mid-’70s, Banks’s neighbor Billy Butler raced a ’73 454-cubic-inch Corvette, and when Banks was 12 or 13 Butler began sneaking him down to the Castle. Banks was introduced to a universe of African-American heroes who made an indelible influence on him, like knights in shining armor and their valiant steeds: Mr. Wink and “the Ghetto Rat,” a ’69 Chevy Nova; Houston Martin and “the Country Preacher,” a ’75 Chevy Monza; Houston’s son Harold Martin, who later became a key engineer in the comeback of Cadillac, and his ’69 Camaro “Little Kim”; Junior Burchett and his ’70 Max Wedge Plymouth Big Block Barracuda; Sandy Coley and his ’79 Pontiac Trans Am; and Doc James and his “Fireball Express.” (James actually raced in the Motor City Showdown, finishing as runner-up in the Big Tire category in his rainbow-painted ’68 Big Block Chevelle “Fireball Express II.”)


“To hear guys that I looked up to, to see them go into battle and defend their honor, to me was way more appealing than gangbangin’, which unfortunately during my teenage years was popular amongst a lot of my friends,” says Banks. “To me, gangbangin’ was juvenile. The cars were way more thrilling, more exciting and more honorable. Go to the White Castle and see my mentors: black men standing up with a fast car. They would whup that suburban ass. I saw white people lose: It was kind of great.”


As Banks got older, he started working on his friend Fred Gaddis’s car “Wild Cherry,” a ’69 Plymouth Road Runner. “Fred raced every night, and if he won something, he would bring me back some money. I was wrenching and he was driving. Fred eventually became the king of the Castle. Everybody had their great years, and for two or three years, before he got murdered, Fred was the fastest guy at the Castle.”


Banks took his turn behind the wheel too, driving “The Punisher,” a 1970 big-block Dodge Challenger (though his pride and joy was a 10-second ’74 Vega that never had a name with a small-block Chevy engine). Years later, Banks had to part with the car for tax purposes, but it was immortalized on Underground Resistance’s 1991 12″ single “The Punisher,” an industrial-strength, Mach-2 chase-scene soundtrack that became a rave staple. “Racing never left my heart and even the music UR made had a lot to do with racing,” says Banks. “A lot of times music in Detroit is competitive. We had Jeff Mills, the best and most competitive DJ in Detroit, who needed viciously hot tracks to stay on top as we had plans to sonically conquer the world. That was the UR Way.”






Like Banks, Paul Humphries—the younger brother of Hump the Grinder—is a veteran of the Castle. Humphries, now 55, got his start in music setting up Hump’s equipment for him. Hump used to race too, driving a ’69 Chevelle, “but once he started DJing the speakers wouldn’t fit in the trunk, so he had to sell the car,” says Humphries. Paul did his own DJing; under the name Dr. P-H-D, he made mixes for influential late-night FM radio personality the Electrifying Mojo, as well as for Nat Morris, host of WGPR-TV’s dance show The Scene. “I used to rent halls and give my own parties,” says Humphries. “It was fun, but I went right back to my first passion, which was the hot rods and street racing.”


Beginning in 1972, Humphries, along with his older sister and brother, would sneak out of the house to go to the Castle at Livernois and Warren after their mom had fallen asleep. At first he was just a spectator, but as he got older he started racing himself. “That was mainly the meeting spot, and then they’d go out to certain areas and race,” says Humphries, who was known as “the Chevy Doctor.” “Sometimes it was so crowded down there that you had to use a decoy. You’d have two guys arguing, like they’re getting ready to really get down, and then they’d go pull off. Everybody down at the Castle would follow them, and then the big boys with the trailers, they’d go to another spot, just to take that crowd that’s all in the way somewhere else. That way they didn’t have to wait for people to park and get in the way and all that. We used to have the streets blocked off with cars. We had walkie-talkies to say, ‘Okay, it’s clear. Go ahead, we can do this.’ And occasionally sometimes we’d have to give the police $50 each to go chase another call for about 20 minutes; they didn't mind, they’re getting $50 each. That was enough time to get a race done and be outta there, then we’re done and on our way back to the Castle.”


The Castle scene flourished until the mid-’80s, when it screeched to a sudden stop. “I was down there that night,” says Humphries. “I want to say it was ’85, ’86, somewhere in there. We were sitting in the parking lot just hanging out, talking. The police cruiser didn’t mess with nobody. The Big Four rode through—those guys used to ride four deep, plainclothes—and this spectator, drunk, just came out of nowhere and threw a 40-ounce bottle of beer, and it just splashed right on the back of the window. I couldn’t believe it. And after that, that was it. Ever since then, anybody that was down there was getting arrested.”


With the Castle no longer the locus, street racing proliferated to multiple locations, making it even harder for police to monitor. After the closure of Detroit Dragway in 1997, street racing became the only outlet available for those drivers who didn’t want to commit the time and money to the lengthy commute by trailer out to Milan. By the time Theo Parrish arrived in Detroit from his native Chicago in the mid-’90s, French Road had become the primary spot in town. One of the prodigious talents of Detroit’s acclaimed house music scene, producer and DJ Parrish is also a self-described “car nut” and raced at French Road a few times during the ’90s. “I got my ass kicked a lot,” says Parrish. “The atmosphere at French Road was a lot more like, not necessarily a party, but more like a football game. You’ve got people flagging, people talking shit, and that’s some of the best part, the trash talk. There’s people talking so much trash that you’d think it would be a fight. But it’s not: The fight is the two cars, the fight is the two drivers.”


“People would be out there with the kids and families and stuff, watching what’s going on, because it’s an underground economy,” says Parrish. “We’re talking about a lot of guys that are cut out of mainstream life in a lot of ways, so they’re looking for ways to make a quick couple hundred or couple thousand just because that’s what they do.”


Parrish preferred to drive on Detroit’s network of freeways. “I was more of a highway runner actually,” says Parrish. “We’re talking I-75, I-94, at a nice healthy clip depending on your car. Really you should be having it at a track, but the closest you get sometimes is at four in the morning, nobody’s out there but you and a semi or two, and you can open it up. It’s you and the road. That’s the kind of stuff I dig.”


Parrish often cruised the highways in the wee hours, looking for drivers “who want to scoot,” communicating via body language or horn toots to signal to potential racers. “I took an ’88 Mustang and turned it into a Porsche killer. So I would go out, late at night, when nobody was on the highways, and look for Porsches and exotics to run off, and I got a couple good runs out of them. I passed a couple Porsches. Most times, I wouldn’t even care if the other guy was racing me, I just like to drive. It brings me peace. And crazy enough, it inspires music. The machine, its revolutions, the sounds it makes: it inspires music. It’s not a surprise to me that most of the music we make out of Detroit sounds great in cars while you’re moving along. I always encourage people to put my music on while they’re driving. I’d say 40 to 60 percent of the songs I do are inspired by driving.”



Many of the other leading lights of Detroit’s electronic music scene are also ardent auto aficionados. Most notably, house music producer and DJ Omar-S, who worked for years certifying parts at a Ford Motor plant, posed on the back cover of his 2013 album Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself with his red Corvette C6 Grand Sport, as well as appearing in Idris Elba’s BBC 2013 series King of Speed in an episode on Detroit street racing. The Motor City’s melding of man and machine gives Detroit’s music its distinctive dynamism and makes it the perfect aural accompaniment for the sensation of hurtling forward through space at high speed.


Or perhaps it’s even more basic than that. “Detroit only has two selling factors,” says Banks. “People come here for cars or music. That’s pretty much it. If they come for another reason, I can’t imagine what it is.”



In the early 2000s Humphries began attempting to find a spot for a legal track, focusing initially on a site at 8 Mile and Woodward on the old Michigan State Fairgrounds, but grew disillusioned after his talks with the city fell on deaf ears. “I tried to let them know, ‘Look at all these cars out here, look at all this money that could stay in the city.’ I was trying to show them, but they just weren't listening to me,” says Humphries.


In 2008, Humphries began making a documentary about the White Castle era, and needed footage of what the scene used to look like back in the day. He found a helpful White Castle regional manager who allowed him to stage a one-off event at the Livernois and Warren location, a reunion of “all these cats who went from street racing to professional racing,” says Humphries. While he was filming, Humphries overheard spectators talking about how they were going to bring out their own cars the following year, so he organized another, and then another. The “White Castle Days” event boomed from 350 cars in its first year to 1,000 the next, then 3,000 cars in 2010. After that, Humphries moved from Detroit to Arizona for work, but he came back in 2015 to do another Castle Days reunion. When the burger chain changed regional managers, however, he had to discontinue the annual reunion.


In Humphries’s documentary Motor City Street Racers, racers like “Hollywood Sam” Gurley (who opened the first black-owned auto parts store in the city in the early ’70s) recount stopping off at the Castle on Saturday nights on their way back from competing at Detroit Dragway. There was also a rivalry with another White Castle, over at Telegraph and 9 Mile, just north of Detroit in the suburb of Southfield, where the drivers were predominantly white. “What’s interesting to me was to see that the average black guy in the city was able to do exactly what anybody else can do,” says Humphries of his film. “I interviewed guys that were like backyard mechanics, and they were producing cars just like your top shop mechanic. I was trying to show people, ‘Hey look, it doesn't matter who you are, what color you are, or where you’re working at.’ I mean, everybody has the same goal. They just want a nice, fast car.”


The dream of finally racing one of those cars legally inside Detroit at last appears tantalizingly close. Olatunji hopes to secure sponsorships and make the Showdown an annual affair, while city government mulls sites for a permanent track. In Banks’s view, such progress can’t come fast enough. “There’s a lot of kids in the inner cities—Detroit, Chicago, LA, St. Louis—they would love to see some mano a mano drag racing and all the trash talking, the whole thing that goes with it, and then they learn to shake hands at the end instead of pulling the trigger,” says Banks. “It’s a good sport for kids in these tough environments to see. City officials should realize they could save thousands of kids with this sport, for real. Everything that you get out of street life—the excitement, the thrill, the blah, blah, blah—it’s like that at the racetrack. It’s the same shit except it’s legal. It’s raw, it’s right there in your face and you’ve got to deal with it.”


“Some people see art in cars and they see the same thing you would see in a movie: They see drama, they see bravery, honor, the whole thing,” says Banks. “That’s what car racing was. The cars were super exciting, but to me, it was to see two guys go at it and shake hands at the end, best man wins. They’d go, ‘Well, you may win Friday, but next Friday I’m going to whup your ass!’ I love that. Guys never give up. That’s Detroit, man, that’s the real Detroit. We don’t give up. You lost this time, but hey, bro, I'll be back. And it’s always like that in racing. I think that’s the true spirit of Detroit.”